Smart Grid | Smart Energy International News & insights for smart metering, smart energy & grid professionals in the electricity, water & gas industries. Tue, 15 Aug 2023 21:55:05 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 Smart Grid | Smart Energy International 32 32 GE Vernova acquires Greenbird to accelerate GridOS® innovation and help utilities reduce the complexity of energy data integration Tue, 15 Aug 2023 07:36:31 +0000
  • Acquisition highlights GE Vernova’s commitment to invest strategically in technologies and talent that help accelerate the sustainable energy grid.
  • Greenbird’s utility-focused technology and data integration experts will expand the capabilities of the company’s GridOS® software portfolio, allowing grid operators to more easily connect systems and integrate data at scale.
  • Reducing the complexity of big data integration for utilities creates more opportunities for AI-driven grid automation and enables them to move at speed to meet decarbonization targets and electrification demand while managing climate-related disruptions.
  • CAMBRIDGE, MA. – August 14, 2023 – GE Vernova’s Digital business today announced it has acquired Greenbird Integration Technology AS, a data integration platform company focused on utilities. This acquisition highlights GE Vernova’s commitment to investing in technologies and talent that help accelerate the sustainable energy grid.

    The platform will accelerate GridOS®, the world’s first software portfolio designed specifically for grid orchestration, adding new capabilities for connecting systems and integrating data across the grid more easily and at scale. The financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

    “Utilities have an urgent need to connect data from multiple sources to gain visibility and effectively automate their grid operations. Fragmented data is a major obstacle to modernizing the grid and is holding the energy transition back,” said Scott Reese, CEO of GE Vernova’s Digital business.

    “The Greenbird acquisition brings the proven ability to connect multiple data sources and accelerates our vision for GridOS that is making energy security a reality for many of the world’s leading utilities. Data and AI are key to helping utilities run a reliable and resilient grid and this acquisition is a massive accelerant to making that vision a reality for utilities of all sizes.”

    The GridOS orchestration software platform and application suite enables secure and reliable grid operations while delivering resiliency and flexibility needed by utilities worldwide. GridOS delivers these tools with the cloud service provider and system integrator partner ecosystem necessary to accelerate grid modernization and the energy transition. The software portfolio uses a federated data fabric to pull together energy data, network modelling, and AI-driven analytics from across the grid.

    The Greenbird acquisition will expand the capabilities of the data fabric, eliminating data silos to make it faster and easier to connect and aggregate energy data, reducing the time and expense of data integration projects. This also better connects modern software like Advanced Energy Management System (AEMS), Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS), and Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS), creating new opportunities for grid automation.

    “Having access to utility data in context gives grid operators an opportunity to better leverage AI for automation and potentially enables the grid to be self-describing and self-healing in the future,” said Mahesh Sudhakaran, General Manager, Grid Software at GE Vernova’s Digital business. “This is the vision we have for grid orchestration enabled by the GridOS portfolio, and this acquisition provides both the technology and the talent to help us get there.”

    “We started in 2010 with a mission to simplify data integration for utilities, helping them leverage data to run smarter, more efficient analytics-driven services to accelerate the energy transition,” said Thorsten Heller, CEO of Greenbird Integration Technology. “Our technology platform is purpose-built to support a distributed data and IT architecture and aligns perfectly with GE Vernova’s vision for the GridOS federated grid data fabric and one network model, providing the data foundation utilities need to transform their operations.”

    An example of the need for more connected and integrated data is evident in the exponential growth predicted for electric vehicles (EVs) – there are expected to be 77M EVs on the road by 2025 and 229M by 2030 – that will both draw from and possibly contribute to the grid as “rolling batteries” that can be tapped when demand is high and supply is low. Integration of data from multiple sources like charging stations as well as operations, forecasting, billing, and other systems can support the success of future use cases such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) while keeping the grid safe.

    Read more news from Greenbird

    Data integration is also key to solving renewables connection challenges. Approximately 1,350 gigawatts of additional, mostly sustainable power capacity is waiting to be constructed and connected to the grid. This large-scale interconnection backlog results in wasted capacity and unutilized investment. Scenario planning and grid simulations can provide an opportunity to increase line capacity and drive deeper visibility into the impact of such assets on the grid, allowing capacity to be connected faster and helping to reduce hundreds of millions of dollars of traditional back-up generators. Such use cases require the integration of forecasting, simulation, historical grid OT, sensor, line, and inertia data.

    The Greenbird integration platform is delivered as a service (iPaaS) and is built with containerization and a suite of cloud services, which will accelerate the availability of key GridOS components. In addition, GE Vernova welcomes Greenbird’s innovative team to the Grid Software group, including data specialists skilled in developing and deploying distributed data processes at scale for utilities. The acquisition will advance the AI- and data-driven vision for GridOS that GE Vernova’s Digital business believes will solve grid orchestration challenges while cultivating an energy data ecosystem that advances decarbonization and electrification at scale.

    Learn more about GridOS

    About GE Vernova’s Digital Business

    GE Vernova’s Digital business is putting data to work to accelerate a new era of energy. We deliver the platforms and intelligent applications necessary to accelerate electrification and decarbonization across the energy ecosystem – from how power is created, how it is orchestrated, to how it is consumed. More than 20,000 customers around the globe use our software to help plan, predict, manage, and optimize operations today for a sustainable tomorrow. For more information, visit the website.

    About Greenbird Integration Technologies

    Greenbird is an international solution and technology company with roots in Norway. We simplify the complexity of Big Data Integration to help organizations unlock the value of their data and mission critical applications. Our flagship innovation, Utilihive, is a cloud-native platform combining enterprise integration capabilities with a data lake optimized for energy use cases. We founded Greenbird in 2010 with a mission to revolutionize how the energy industry thinks about enterprise system integration. Today, Utilihive is used by more than 230 utilities across Europe, Middle East and Asia serving more than 50 million consumers. Greenbird is headquartered in Oslo and has around 50 employees, comprising primarily of senior developers and consultants and specializing in technology development and customer onboarding of the Utilihive platform. To learn how you can unleash the value of data while removing silos, explore more at

    Media contact:

    Rachael Van Reen:

    US Joint Office of Energy and Transportation creates new EV working group Sat, 12 Aug 2023 13:17:03 +0000 The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation in the US has announced the members of the Electric Vehicle Working Group (EVWG), a collection of EV industry experts and leaders who intend to guide the widespread adoption of EVs across the country and solidify America’s position as a global leader of clean energy jobs and manufacturing.

    The EVWG, which will make recommendations directly to the secretaries of Energy and Transportation, includes experts with experience and knowledge across the entire EV ecosystem, including manufacturers of vehicles, components and batteries; public utility representatives; local and regional elected officials; state energy planners; and labor officials representing transportation industry workers.

    The committee also includes leadership from the US departments of Energy and Transportation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, the US General Services Administration and the US Postal Service.

    “The adoption of electric vehicles continues to evolve at a lightning pace,” said Gabe Klein, executive director of the Joint Office. “The thought leaders we’ve assembled for the EVWG understand the unique challenges and opportunities of this evolution and will align efforts across government and industry to ensure we work together to build an electrified transportation future that benefits all Americans.”

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    Areas of focus for the group will include facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles among low- and moderate-income individuals and underserved communities; assessing the costs of vehicle and EV battery manufacturing and shortages of raw materials for batteries; identifying charging infrastructure, grid capacity and EV cybersecurity needs; addressing grid capacity and integration; and identifying charging infrastructure regulatory issues.

    Consumer interest in EVs is accelerating. New plug-in EV sales have reached nearly 10% of the US light-duty market as of early 2023, with more than 3.4 million vehicles sold since 2010. Nearly 100 different EV models are already available in the US market – including sedans, SUVs, trucks, vans and sports cars – with many more expected in coming years.

    The Joint Office was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to facilitate collaboration between the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Transportation in their efforts to deploy a national network of electric vehicle chargers, zero-emission fueling infrastructure and zero-emission transit and school buses.

    Originally published by Sean Wolfe on Power Grid.

    Research into weather-proof smart grids gets a $375,000 boost Fri, 11 Aug 2023 08:22:00 +0000 The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez is leading a project to advance smart grid technologies for communities impacted by climate change and related extreme weather events.

    The project ‘STORM: Data-driven approaches for secure electric grids in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change’ is intended to engage underserved communities in local climate change solutions and increase their situational awareness of the grid as well as to study community engaged operation of local power grids.

    The project, which is expected to advance the nation’s smart grid technologies to support these communities, has been awarded an initial $375,000 in funding – half the intended total – from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR research stimulation programme.

    Other participants include the universities of Maine, South Dakota State and Alaska Fairbanks.

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    The project is designed to respond to current resilience challenges, in particular the more frequent and intense extreme weather events and physical and cyber attacks, with three interrelated themes.

    Theme 1 is focussed on engagement with underserved communities in local climate change solutions and knowledge translation for microgrid design.

    Theme 2 then seeks to increase the situational awareness of underserved communities in order to improve the local power grid resilience through accelerated big data modelling, estimation and secure control frameworks.

    A new multi-microgrid system restoration strategy is planned to prioritise critical loads at the community and individual levels based on a new multi-timescale predictive control and estimation framework that utilises grid forming inverters to provide dynamic support during the process.

    Novel hardware Trojan prevention, detection and mitigation techniques should advance cyber-attack resilience of the entire system during severe weather.

    Theme 3 addresses the development of a regionally relevant cyber-physical research infrastructure for studying community-engaged, data driven operation of power grids.

    The new synthetic power systems, climate and socioeconomic data are expected to be immensely valuable to the advancement of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to the electric industry in these underserved jurisdictions.

    The STORM project is expected to benefit from solid existing partnerships including a Department of Energy EPSCoR project on modelling converter-dominated power systems.

    The project also builds on partnerships with the Sandia, National Renewable Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

    In addition, the project will leverage relationships with industry and community partners, including the Kotzebue Electric Association, East River Electric Co-op, Missouri River Energy Services, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Siemens, Sioux Valley Energy, Sustainable Energy for Galena and Versant Power.

    EaaS companies stand by for Puerto Rico grid emergencies Fri, 04 Aug 2023 07:23:00 +0000 California-based Sunrun and Puerto Rico’s Sunnova – two energy-as-a-service (EaaS) companies – have separately announced participation of their residential battery and solar solutions within an emergency grid balancing programme in Puerto Rico to mitigate potential power outages as ageing power stations trip.

    The companies’ fleets of solar and battery storage solutions will participate in the Battery Emergency Demand Response programme in Puerto Rico, which is being called the first distributed power plant programme in the nation that specifically focuses on rapid emergency response to ensure the grid remains stable.

    Through the programme, backup power will be tapped into from residential solar and storage systems when the island’s ageing oil- and gas-fired power plants fail or when electricity generation issues arise that could lead to rolling blackouts.

    According to a Sunrun-issued press release announcing their participation, Puerto Rico leads the US in total hours of electricity outages; millions of residents experienced more than 300 million hours of power disruptions in 2022.

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    Earlier this year in June, tens of thousands were without electricity as the island reached a record-breaking heat index of 125°F (51.7°C), knocking an oil-fired power plant out of service.

    The distributed power plant programme was formed in response to the island’s repeating outages, giving the utility provider on the island access to flexible and cost-effective power from residential energy resources to alleviate pressure on the power grid during periods of peak demand.

    When the grid is under stress, and as requested by Puerto Rico‘s distribution and transmission operator LUMA, participating systems will be instructed to discharge battery storage to the site or to the grid, reducing overall demand on the grid, minimising blackouts, and keeping the power on.

    Anticipated dispatch and customer compensation

    The programme is anticipating 75 to 125 dispatch events in the first year with an average duration of two hours.

    Through their participation in the grid balancing emergency programme, customers from Sunrun and Sunnova will be compensated for use of the energy.

    Sunrun participatory customers, who will receive a pay-for-performance payment estimated at hundreds of dollars per battery, are expected to number in the thousands. In the event of a local power outage, states Sunrun, batteries enrolled in the programme will retain enough backup energy to meet personal, essential needs.

    Sunnova customers’ batteries, states the company, will never be discharged below a capacity level of their choosing. At the end of the year, participating customers would be credited by Sunnova for the energy produced by their batteries during these events.

    According to Sunnova, the average residential customer may receive up to $1,000 annually for their participation, depending on their battery size and configuration, and final programme details.

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    “The unfortunate reality of an unreliable local electrical grid and frequent power outages has plagued Puerto Rico for far too long,” commented said William John Berger, CEO of Sunnova.

    “Luckily, a new era of energy stability and empowerment is here. By harnessing the energy stored in batteries during times of high demand or emergencies, homeowners can actively contribute to grid stabilisation and be rewarded for their valuable contribution, all while benefitting electricity consumers across the Island.”

    Stated Sunrun CEO, Mary Powell: “It’s exciting to see the progress being made on the island with officials and grid operators embracing home solar and storage as playing a key role in making sure Puerto Ricans have access to clean, affordable and resilient energy, especially as we enter hurricane season.

    Substation automation market to boom to $55.6bn by 2032 Mon, 31 Jul 2023 11:20:46 +0000 Future Market Insights expects the value of the global substation automation market to be $29.12 billion this year, followed by further growth to $55.59 billion by 2032, driven by increasing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, coupled with the rising use of digital technology to improve grid efficiency.

    Substation automation is a method of using data from intelligent electronic devices to control and automate substations and controlling power systems devices through commands from remote users.

    The overall demand for the tech, as forecast by Future Market Insights in Substation Automation Market Snapshot (2023 to 2033), will grow by a CAGR of 6.7% between now and 2032.

    The key driver of this market, states the research company, is to reduce human intervention and improve the operating efficiency of the system. Increasing developments in SCADA and communication technologies, along with rising demand for renewable energy projects, are also determinants in the market’s growth.

    Smart grid investments

    The report outlines how heavy investments within the smart grid space have been developing, indicating the growing recognition of this tech as much needed. Namely, it will help reduce operational as well as maintenance costs, increase plant productivity and ensure high performance, reliability and safety of electrical power network performance.

    For instance, in May 2018, they state, Natural Resource Canada announced an investment of $949,000 for a next-generation smart grid project.

    The grid project focuses on promoting the adoption of renewable sources of energy and the implementation of technology to integrate new sources of clean energy without compromising the stability and reliability of existing grids.

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    Key market players

    The North American substation automation market was forecast by the market report to accumulate the highest market share of 36.0% in 2022. On a geographic basis, North America is anticipated to be the largest market for substation automation, owing to the increasing popularity and adoption of advanced intelligent electronic device and communication technologies.

    Factors such as increasing investment in energy infrastructure by different governments due to increasing urbanisation and higher energy demand is one of the major factors that is expected to boost this growth over the report’s forecast period.

    In addition, increasing dependence on electricity, demand from the power system for advanced technology, requirements to reduce maintenance and operating costs and implementation of government incentives are primary drivers for the country’s market size.

    In the Asia Pacific, the market is expected to accumulate a market share of 32.5% this year and is expected to continue to maintain the trend over the forecast period.

    The Government of India in particular was found by the research to have launched several schemes to revive power distribution utilities and electrify villages, indicating a strong smart infrastructure vision for the country.

    Such rural electrification and the presence of companies bringing in advancements in electrical equipment are expected to strengthen regional growth in the market for the Asia Pacific.

    According to the report, in Europe, the market is expected to accumulate a share value of 30% this year. Specifically, the research lists increasing demand for smart grids and increasing adoption of renewable as resulting in major revenue-generating countries across the continent.

    PG&E taps Schneider and Microsoft for new DERMS Sat, 29 Jul 2023 07:02:00 +0000 At an innovation summit hosted by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Schneider Electric, Microsoft and PG&E announced the deployment of a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) on Microsoft Azure to maintain grid reliability and accelerate customer adoption of distributed energy resources (DER) such as electric vehicles, energy storage and rooftop solar.

    PG&E CEO Patti Poppe invited Schneider Electric North America CEO Annette Clayton and Daryl Willis, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Energy & Resources to talk a bit about the announcement during the event.

    Poppe first recalled the heat wave that hit California in September last year. “I’ll never forget it; we were standing in our control room and we were watching the load curve go up. It was September 6th and it was getting dangerously close,” she said. Ultimately after CAISO used the public broadcast system to ask millions of Californians to conserve energy, there was no brownout. And while it is wonderful that the people saved the grid Poppe would rather not re-live that scenario.  

    “Let’s not do that very often,” she said.

    Instead, what if PG&E could “leverage distributed resources to supply energy on the hottest days at the lowest societal cost possible,” and that’s what this DERMS should allow PG&E to do, she said.

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    Clayton added that PG&E has been “innovating on one side of the meter and we’re innovating on the other side of the meter and that innovation really needed to intersect in a much more powerful way.”

    Indeed, the exponential growth of DER promises much-needed load flexibility as more renewables come online. DERMS provides the ability to harness that flexibility when and where it’s needed.

    The DERMS technology provides greater visibility into DER behavior and the ability to control DER intelligently. Greater situational awareness allows for more proactive management to keep the grid safe, secure and resilient, while helping utilities provide clean, reliable and affordable energy to their customers.

    Schneider’s EcoStruxure DERMS is a cloud-based, grid-aware software platform, which runs on Microsoft Azure, that integrates, analyses and optimises data from DER — like solar, electric vehicles, battery energy storage and microgrids, according to the company. That data then provides electric grid operators with enhanced communication and coordination capabilities to unlock the value of DER as flexible grid resources. 

    EVs as mobile energy storage

    In California, where 23% of all new vehicles sold last year were EVs, Poppe sees great potential in eventually being able to tap into those EV batteries.

    “We have almost 500,000 electric vehicles on our roads, which is the equivalent of 9000 megawatts of capacity,” she said. While today the utility thinks of those megawatts as load that needs to charge, “I imagine them as supply and with the DERMS platform we’re talking about, they can be leveraged at the right times,” she said.

    PG&E serves more than 16 million people across Northern and Central California, where its customers are often early adopters of new, clean energy technologies. PG&E is taking proactive measures to ensure grid reliability and meet the growing electricity demands of California.

    The utility has connected more than 700,000 customers with rooftop solar to the electric grid and more than 55,000 PG&E residential, business and government customers have installed battery energy storage systems connecting to the grid across PG&E’s service area, totaling more than 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity.

    Plus PG&E has made significant progress deploying grid-scale battery energy storage. In August of 2020, PG&E had just 6.5 megawatts (MW) of battery energy storage connected to the power grid. Today, PG&E has 1,200MW of storage capacity operation and by September this year, it expects to have 1,700MW online, or enough to meet the instantaneous demand of 1.2 million homes at once. PG&E has contracts for battery energy storage systems totaling more than 3,000MW to be deployed over the next few years.

    DERMs will enable the dispatch of these technologies when California needs energy most.

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    A unified team

    The DERMS collaboration among Microsoft, PG&E and Schneider Electric to develop and launch a DERMS strategy symbolizes the power of a unified team with diverse talents and expertise working collaboratively to achieve a new utility-industry standard for integrating DER at scale, said the companies in a press release.

    Clayton lauded PG&E’s comprehensive, cloud-enabled DERMS strategy as an example of Schneider Electric’s Grid to Prosumer philosophy. “This approach to optimise distributed energy resources is agile enough to keep up with 21st century demands on the grid. A stepwise approach is key in DER implementation to effectively handle short-term goals and prepare for the long-term vision.”

    The collaboration builds on Schneider Electric’s 30-year co-innovation relationship with Microsoft to deliver solutions integrating Microsoft Azure, an open cloud computing platform with the tools, scale and security to address the demands of critical energy infrastructure today and in the future.

    “Collaboration is key to addressing the complex global energy challenges and achieving a more sustainable future,” said Willis.

    Priority use cases

    Schneider Electric, Microsoft and PG&E have identified several foundation use cases for the new system, including:

    • Real-time visibility into all DER. Enhanced situational awareness of grid impacts, both in real-time and with forecasted lookahead, plus instant alerts for improved operations planning.
    • System capacity for peak summer days. Visualized DER capacity, timely impact analysis, customer feedback (measurement and verification) and additional DER capacity.
    • Local capacity for new service connections and interconnections. Oversight of interconnection requests enables utilities to leverage actionable data to faster evaluate and process DER connection requests and streamline processes that ensure resilience.
    • Reliability and resilience with energy storage. Utility-owned & aggregator-provided storage asset dispatch for improving local reliability and network deferral (non-wire alternatives).
    • Transportation electrification. Integration, managed charging and vehicle-to-grid coordination for residential vehicles and commercial fleets.

    The companies are continuing to build and enhance the platform to address additional use cases over the next several years.

    Originally published on Power Grid.

    Smart Energy Finances: AMI provider acquires a narrowband communications solution Fri, 28 Jul 2023 08:42:21 +0000 This week’s Smart Energy Finances looks at the announcement of an acquisition of a New Zealand-based communication solutions developer by an AMI and IoT provider. The acquisition will create a new entity and communications platform for utilities to improve the performance of critical infrastructure.

    Also on the radar are announcements of a ‘resilient’ business model based on smart meter-generated revenue for Smart Metering Systems (SMS), growth financing for a smart meter data analysis provider and a €3 billion ($3.9 billion) scheme for cleantech companies in Germany.

    AMI provider Ubiik acquires Mimomax Wireless

    Taiwan-based Ubiik, an IoT and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) provider, has acquired New Zealand-based Mimomax Wireless, a provider of communication solutions for narrowband channels.

    The acquisition is being touted as an acceleration of Ubiik’s market expansion.

    The new combined entity, which has not yet been named, aims to bring new wireless solutions to market, providing communications for utilities and critical infrastructure.

    According to the Taiwanese provider, their current business is on track to exceed 1 million AMI device deployments by 2024, citing the “coverage limitations of existing public LTE networks that impede utilities’ AMI deployments” as the prime challenge they seek a solution towards, the company stated in a joint press release announcing the acquisition.

    Since 2007, Mimomax Wireless established itself as a manufacturer of radios utilising Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) technology.

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    The Kiwi company caters to utilities, stakeholders within the energy sectors and governments among others. Their communications solutions, states Mimomax, optimises data throughput and enables near-real-time visibility of critical assets.

    Commenting on the announcement was Tienhaw Peng, founder and CEO of Ubiik, who stated how the acquisition “injects additional momentum into our collective growth. In tandem, we’re poised to boost the performance, security and cost-effectiveness of critical networks.”

    Ubiik states how the merger will allow for an array of new solutions for mission and business-critical communications. For example, existing US utility customers who have deployed Mimomax products in the narrowband 700MHz Upper Block A can now leverage their spectrum acquisition by adding Ubiik’s goRAN NB-IoT Band 103 as a retrofit.

    This opportunity, adds the AMI provider, offers the ability to connect smart meters and IoT devices for “a fraction of the cost of deploying new pLTE infrastructure”.

    SMS’s ‘resilient’ smart metering business model

    Glasgow-based smart meter and carbon reduction asset developer Smart Metering Systems (SMS) has, within its H1 2023 trading update and outlook report, reported 13.3% revenue growth.

    Specifically, the Scottish clean tech company’s Index-linked Annualised Recurring Revenue (ILARR), a referral to revenue generated from meter rental and data contracts, grew from £97.1 million ($125.4 million) at the close of December 2022 to £110 million ($142 million) as of June 30, 2023.

    The company’s CEO, Tim Mortlock, commented on the growth, citing the ‘resilience’ of their model:

    “We have delivered another strong operational and financial performance during H1 2023, a testament to the resilient nature of our business model which is underpinned by our index-linked recurring revenues.

    “Our existing pipeline of meter and grid-scale battery assets is expected to more than double the Group’s EBITDA in c.4 years compared to FY 2022, with significant additional growth opportunities in existing and developing CaRe assets.”

    Within the first half of 2023, the company SMS installed 220,000 smart meters and has maintained market share of 14%.

    According to the report, their engineering capacity delivered higher volumes of activity, largely driven by transactional callout services alongside a higher proportion of single fuel installations.

    The Group also increased its engineering capacity and expects meter installation run-rate to accelerate as a result.

    When it comes to financing, the Group claims its current pipeline of smart meters and grid-scale batteries can be fully funded from asset-backed, internally-generated cash flows and debt facilities.

    The Group is also considering asset recycling to maintain a “prudent level of gearing in the medium term and to support future growth”, they state in the release.

    Also from Smart Energy Finances:
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    Enel divests 50% of Australian renewable operations to Japanese oil and gas giant

    Expansion financing for a smart meter data analysis provider

    CIBC Innovation Banking has increased its growth financing commitment to Bidgely, a provider of AI-powered energy intelligence solutions for energy providers worldwide.

    The additional financing commitment of $18 million – 2020 saw Bidgely secure $8 million from the same company – will strengthen Bidgely’s ability to support critical utility initiatives, namely within the EV and grid modernisation markets.

    Bidgely’s UtilityAI analyses smart meter data to provide appliance-level insights into daily energy consumption, giving utilities insights into energy usage patterns and anticipated grid loads.

    Bidgely touts its platform’s ability to coordinate accurate grid planning and load forecasting, together with the ability to better manage the influx of EVs on the grid through optimised time of use, load shifting and managed charging.

    “Utilities around the world rely on Bidgely’s artificial intelligence-powered energy solution to guide their clients to smart energy decisions,” said Amy Olah, managing director of CIBC Innovation Banking. “Our continued support speaks to Bidgely’s success and our commitment to back innovative software companies across North America throughout their growth journey.”

    €3bn for German low-carbon tech – batteries, heat pumps and more

    The European Commission has approved a €3 billion ($3.9bn) German scheme under the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to support private investments in low-carbon assets for the country’s transition to net zero.

    The scheme, touted as in line with the tenets of the proposed Green Deal Industrial Plan, will take the form of direct grants, tax advantages, subsidised interest rates and guarantees on new loans for companies producing low-carbon technologies.

    Said companies will include those with business in battery energy storage, heat pumps, electrolysers, wind turbines, solar panel, CCUS and key components needed to produce such tech or related critical raw materials necessary for their production.

    The aid will be meted out by 31 December 2025.

    For the latest finance and investment news coming out of the energy sector, make sure to follow Smart Energy Finances Weekly.

    Yusuf Latief
    Content Producer
    Smart Energy International

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    Xcel Energy to deploy private LTE network to support grid modernisation Thu, 27 Jul 2023 06:42:12 +0000 Minneapolis-headquartered Xcel Energy is to deploy Nokia’s private LTE network communication technologies to support its drive to net zero by 2050.

    The initiative, part of Xcel Energy’s grid modernisation across its eight-state service area, is aimed to provide secure and reliable data connectivity and new levels of automation as the company introduces a growing mix of renewable power sources and aims to optimise the delivery of electricity to its 3.7 million customers.

    Nokia will design and integrate the network leveraging Xcel Energy’s choice of Anterix 900MHz spectrum based on the Nokia Modular Private Wireless (MPW) solution combined with its Operational Support Systems (OSS).

    The solution will leverage Xcel Energy’s existing Nokia IP/MPLS infrastructure.

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    Commenting, Tim Peterson, SVP and Chief Technology Officer at Xcel Energy, said the company knows its customers rely on the delivery of clean, affordable and reliable energy.

    “As the first major US power provider to announce a plan to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050, the Nokia private LTE network will support us on our journey, allowing us to leverage better field communications and greater intelligence across the grid for optimised and sustainable operations.”

    Private LTE networks are proving increasingly popular for utility automation use cases and the smartening of the grid, in particular as more and more intelligence is being deployed at the edge and applications become more data-intensive and latency-sensitive.

    Private LTE also opens the way for 5G migration.

    With the private LTE network, Xcel Energy should be able to connect assets using industrial IoT sensors at remote locations and seamlessly incorporate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, into the energy distribution grid.

    With the new levels of grid automation, the company should be able for example to isolate and respond to outages more rapidly for more reliable, efficient operations and sustainable asset utilisation.

    Xcel Energy serves approximately 3.7 million electricity customers in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

    First G3-Alliance P2P-PLC certification test completed Tue, 25 Jul 2023 07:58:00 +0000 Renesas Electronics’ P2P-PLC platform is the first to have been certified by the G3-Alliance’s P2P-PLC programme.

    The certification was conducted by TÜV Rheinland Japan and marks a “significant step forward” for the Alliance, a statement reads.

    The G3-Alliance – formerly the G3-PLC Alliance – introduced the P2P-PLC (Point-to-Point PLC) as a lightweight profile to support G3 technology usage in applications where the topology is very simple or where limited numbers of devices are present in the network and where point-to-point (i.e. not routed) communications can be an advantage.

    Such applications include smart lighting, buildings, environmental monitoring and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).

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    As such it marks an expansion of the use of the technology from its implementation mainly in smart grid applications.

    The P2P-PLC certification uses the same test procedure as the G3-Alliance certification.

    The certification covers all the existing certification profiles, i.e. CENELEC A / CENELEC B / FCC / ARIB, but limits the protocol stack to the OFDM PHY and IEE 802.15.4 MAC layers only.

    The objective of the certification is to allow multi-sourcing of platforms by product manufacturers and is therefore only open to platforms.

    Platforms that have undergone full G3-Alliance certification can achieve P2P-PLC certification if the following conditions are met:
    ● Full access to the MAC layer is available for the end system.
    ● The G3-PLC ADP layer and G3-PLC PHY/MAC layers are clearly separated.
    ● Full G3-PLC testing of the stack must be performed, the G3 ADP layer may reside outside the P2P-PLC certified platform but must be present for certification.

    Renasas’s R9A06G061 PLC modem was designed for peer-to-peer networks and delivers communication speeds up to 1Mb/s over distances of 1km or more.

    “With the need for more lightweight programmes that can accommodate simple topologies or limited network devices, the P2P-PLC certification is the ideal solution, offering a more efficient and less risky path for product manufacturers to launch products domestically and internationally,” the Alliance statement reads.

    Smart grids and digitalisation – more effort needed says IEA Mon, 24 Jul 2023 05:58:41 +0000 More effort is needed on smart grids and digitalisation, the IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2023 update has reported.

    Countries are increasingly preparing their infrastructure for digitalisation and several major economies have announced substantial new funding to modernise and digitalise their electricity grids.

    However, further efforts by policymakers and industry will be necessary to realise the full potential of digitalisation to accelerate the clean energy transition, including the implementation of standards, policies and regulations that prioritise innovation and interoperability while addressing risks to cybersecurity and data privacy.

    The IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress annually assesses recent developments for over 50 components of the energy system against its ‘net zero by 2050’ scenario trajectory for 2030.

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    The report states that grid-related investment in digital technologies has grown by over 50% since 2015, and is expected to reach 19% of total grid investment in 2023.

    There is an increasing focus on the distribution segment, which now represents more than 75% of the total digital spend. There has also been a substantial upswing in investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year.

    However, overall investment in smart grids needs to more than double through 2030 – from around US$300 billion/year currently to almost US$600 billion/year – to get on track with the ‘net zero emissions’ scenario, especially in emerging markets and developing economies.

    The number of smart power meters worldwide exceeded 1 billion in 2022, a tenfold increase since 2010. However, for the first time in a decade, investment slightly decreased, reflecting the plateauing deployment rate as many countries achieve close to full or full rollout.

    Meanwhile, connected devices with automated controls and sensors are expected to reach 13 billion in 2023, up from fewer than 1 billion a decade ago. This number could reach more than 25 billion in 2030.

    Similar trends are being seen in power grids, with around 320 million distribution sensors deployed globally.

    Digitalisation progress

    Notable progress in developing digitalisation in 2022 included the European Union with its action plan and the UK with its ‘digital spine’ feasibility study,

    The European Commission expects about €584 billion (US$650 billion) of investments in the European electricity grid by 2030, of which €170 billion would be for digitalisation, including smart meters and other digital technologies.

    Other examples of recent major grid investments are China with US$442 billion in the period 2021-205, Japan with US$155 billion and India with INR3.03 trillion (US$28 billion).

    In North America, in 2022 the US announced the Grid Resilience Innovative Partnership programme with $10.5 billion in funding and Canada is investing US$100 million through its smart grid programme.

    Among the needs looking ahead, the report states that further progress is needed on smart EV charging to tap into the major flexibility potential of the growing EV fleet.

    At the end of 2022, there were 2.7 million public charging points worldwide, more than 900,000 of which were installed in 2022, an increase of about 55% on 2021 stock. However, only a fraction of these have smart charging capabilities.

    If made grid interactive, other technologies such as heat pumps and air conditioners could also provide flexibility.

    To get in step with the ‘net zero’ scenario, the global inventory of flexible assets needs to increase tenfold by 2030, which means that all sources of flexibility – including batteries and demand response – need to be leveraged.

    Enabling digital technologies such as smart meters and distributed monitoring and control devices are essential to fully exploit the flexibility potential of the growing number of connected devices.

    In addition to ramping up deployment of key digital technologies, existing data and digital assets need to be better utilised to provide benefits for consumers and the energy system.

    In 2019, it was estimated that utilities were leveraging only around 2-4% of the data collected.

    The report also points out the importance of international collaboration programmes for smart grids as a key enabler for their sustainable development, while also large scale interconnectors are highlighted as of vital importance for decarbonisation in certain regions such as the EU, sub-Saharan Africa and China.

    New York greenlights Con Edison’s $11.8bn clean energy investment plan Fri, 21 Jul 2023 12:02:13 +0000 Investor-owned utility Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) has received state approval for critical clean energy investments totalling $11.8 billion that will help New York transition away from fossil fuels.

    The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling sets electric and gas rates through 2025 and advances an investment plan that will help reach the state and city’s clean energy goals.

    Tim Cawley, chairman & CEO of Con Edison, commented on the approval and how it will enable the utility to invest in the power grid to “accommodate increased demand as New Yorkers electrify their vehicles and the heating in their homes and businesses.”

    The approved investments include projects under three brackets:

    1. Investing in the community

    Investment will spur infrastructure development across New York City and Westchester, with projects that include:

    • The Crown Heights Network Split, which will ensure reliable service and promote electrification in the Crown Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
    • The Williamsburg Network Improvement project, which will enable the electrification of transportation and heating in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
    • An expansion of capacity of the Parkview Substation in Manhattan, which will facilitate the MTA’s 2nd Avenue subway expansion and promote electrification in Mott Haven.
    • The new Gateway Park Area Substation in East New York, which will support electrification and the delivery of offshore wind energy to local disadvantaged communities.
    • A new energy storage system in the Glendale area of Queens and one in the Travis area of Staten Island.
    • Continuation of Con Edison’s its storm hardening programme in Westchester County, adding smart switches to overhead power lines, stronger wiring and poles.
    • Installation of elevated equipment at substations in Westchester to protect from severe flooding.

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    2. Investing in a clean and reliable future

    The investment plan includes funding for a range of infrastructure projects across New York City and Westchester that will enable homes and businesses to switch to clean energy alternatives, including:

    • $800 million for Reliable Clean City Projects that will help build new electrical transmission lines, deliver substantial renewable energy and facilitate the retirement of fossil-fuel-powered plants.
    • Over $800 million in storm hardening and resiliency projects.
    • $900 million in energy efficiency and clean heat funding.
    • More than $20 million in energy storage projects.

    3. Investing to protect vulnerable New Yorkers

    The investment package also extends to efforts to address disadvantaged communities and supports our most vulnerable customers through programmes focused on bill affordability including:

    • Rate relief to low-income customers enrolled in the Energy Assistance Programme by targeting an electric discount program cost of $166.3 million per year and $35.8 million per year for the gas programme.
    • Primary Feeder Reliability Programme, which will enhance electric reliability and resilience in disadvantaged communities.
    • Selective Undergrounding Pilot, which will enhance electric resilience, including in disadvantaged communities.
    • Glendale Substation Storage Project, which will support the distribution system serving a disadvantaged community.
    • Programmes that will help the company provide more information quicker to customers via the company website, phone and texts.

    “Our customers demand safe, reliable and increasingly renewable energy,” said Matt Ketschke, president of Con Edison of New York. “This rate plan allows us to continue delivering the world-class service New Yorkers deserve with programmes including undergrounding overhead lines to make them more resilient.

    “On our gas system, we’ll maintain safety and reliability through targeted gas main replacement and advanced leak detection while supporting customers’ transitions from fossil fuels. We continue to support and invest in programmes and technology that improve efficiencies to keep costs affordable and support our most vulnerable customers.”

    The funding approval comes after extensive engagement and negotiation with the New York State Department of Public Service (NYSDPS) and stakeholders.

    It was supported fully or in part by New York City and several other parties including the MTA, New York Power Authority, Natural Resources Defense Council, and New York Energy Consumers Council, among others.

    Washington maps clean energy cybersecurity plan Fri, 14 Jul 2023 12:41:42 +0000 The Biden-Harris Administration has announced an implementation plan to realise the National Cybersecurity Strategy, which aims to protect investments in rebuilding US infrastructure and develop the clean energy sector.

    The newly announced National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan (NCSIP) – announced via a Washington-issued fact sheet – details over 65 Federal initiatives, from combatting cybercrimes to building a skilled cyber workforce.

    The initiatives are grouped under five pillars – Defending Critical Infrastructure, Disrupting and Dismantling Threat Actors, Shaping Market Forces and Driving Security and Resilience, Investing in a Resilient Future, and Forging International Partnerships to Pursue Shared Goals – the fourth of which details the US’ action plan to bolster energy-minded cyber measures.

    The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) will coordinate activities under the plan, including an annual report to the President and Congress on the status of implementation.

    Strategic objective: ‘Secure Our Clean Energy Future’

    Under Investing in a Resilient Future, clean energy cyber resilience initiatives fall under the Secure our Clean Energy Future strategy.

    States the National Cybersecurity Strategy: “Our accelerating national transition to a clean energy future is bringing online a new generation of interconnected hardware and software systems that have the potential to strengthen the resiliency, safety, and efficiency of the US electric grid.

    “These technologies, including distributed energy resources (DERs), smart energy generation and storage devices, advanced cloud-based grid management platforms, and transmission and distribution networks designed for high-capacity controllable loads are far more sophisticated, automated and digitally interconnected than prior generations of grid systems.”

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    To protect said systems, under the implementation plan the following initiatives aim to combat and prevent energy sector cyber crimes:

    • Drive adoption of cyber secure-by-design principles by incorporating them into federal projects (initiative 4.4.1)

    The DOE, working with ONCD and CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), will work with stakeholders to identify and implement cyber secure-by-design pilot projects, identify economic incentives for cyber secure-by-design, identify needed technology vehicles to apply cyber secure-by-design principles and measure progress on national implementation of cyber secure-by-design efforts for critical energy infrastructure.

    The DOE will also continue to promote cybersecurity for electric distribution and DERs in partnership with relevant stakeholders.

    • Develop a plan to ensure the digital ecosystem can support and deliver the US government’s decarbonisation goals (initiative 4.4.2)

    The ONCD will develop a plan to ensure that the digital ecosystem is prepared to incorporate novel technologies and dynamics needed for the energy transition.

    Cybersecurity will be built in through the National Cyber-Informed Engineering Strategy, rather than developing a patchwork of security controls after these connected devices are widely deployed.

    • Build and refine training, tools and support for engineers and technicians using cyber-informed engineering principles (initiative 4.4.3)

    DOE will work with stakeholders to build the National Cyber-Informed Engineering Strategy to advance the training, tools and support for engineers and technicians to enable them to design, build and operate operational technology and control systems that are secure- and resilient-by-design.

    Each initiative under the five pillars is assigned to a responsible agency; 18 agencies in total are leading the initiatives.

    This is the first iteration of the plan, which is a living document that will be updated annually.

    7 Points to understanding G3-Hybrid Mesh Networks Wed, 12 Jul 2023 07:38:19 +0000 Hybrid mesh networks are a key technology in powering our modern, connected world. They provide the backbone that smart grids and Internet of Things (IoT) systems need to fulfil expectations.

    The G3-Hybrid mesh network is an advanced technology in this field, offering a wealth of unique benefits. To make it easier to understand, let’s break it down into 7 points.

    1. The Basics of G3-Hybrid Mesh Networks

    A G3-Hybrid mesh network is like a large, interconnected family of both wired and wireless devices. They cooperate to cover a vast area without requiring a dedicated and complex infrastructure setup. This ‘smart’ network is the backbone of advanced systems like smart grids and IoT applications. The biggest advantage of this network is that each device – or node – can benefit from the best that both Power Line Communication (PLC) and Radio Frequency (RF) can offer for communication at any place and time. The resulting flexibility ensures maximum coverage, minimises dead zones, and reduces the cost and complexity associated with network setup and maintenance.

    2. Key Components of a G3-Hybrid Mesh Network

    A G3-Hybrid mesh network primarily consists of three types of devices:

    Credit: G3-Alliance

    Gateways – These are the crucial connecting points, serving as interfaces between the hybrid mesh network and the outside world. They connect the mesh network to other systems, such as Head-end Systems or central management systems. Gateways are also known as Border Routers or in G3 terminology it is the PAN Co-ordinator.

    Mesh Devices – These devices form the backbone of the network. They route and forward data to and from other nodes, ensuring smooth and efficient data flow across the network.

    Leaf Devices – These devices are part of the network but do not contribute to the mesh structure. They only communicate via the network and can rely autonomously on battery-limited energy resources.

    3. The Self-healing Nature of the Network

    A G3-Hybrid mesh network is self-healing: it has the capability to automatically adjust and repair its structure when the environment or network conditions change. For instance, if adverse weather conditions or a physical obstruction interrupts a connection between two nodes, the network seamlessly switches between RF and PLC technologies to ensure uninterrupted data flow.

    Credit: G3-Alliance

    4. Understanding IPv6 and 6LoWPAN

    IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, which is a set of rules governing how data is sent and received over the Internet. It’s designed to handle a vast array of internet addresses – 3.4×10^38 to be exact. This means it’s well-prepared for our increasingly connected world.

    An adaptation of IPv6, known as 6LoWPAN, enables the efficient transmission of IPv6 over low-bandwidth networks, significantly reducing IPv6 overhead. These benefits extend to smaller, more constrained networks, such as those used in wireless mesh networks. This is where the G3-Hybrid network comes in. It harnesses this technology to facilitate smooth, extensive communication and is versatile enough to be tailored to specific applications, whether that’s smart grid, IoT or other dedicated uses.

    5. Battery Power in Hybrid Mesh Networks

    As mentioned for the leaf devices, hybrid mesh networks can run on battery power. The G3-Alliance developed a battery-powered leaf node specification to allow fully connected devices in a G3-Hybrid mesh network to run on a single battery for an extended period of time – for years or even decades.

    6. Standardisation in Hybrid Mesh Networks

    A G3-Hybrid mesh network adheres to open standards, specifically the ITU-T G.9903 G3-PLC protocol and the IEEE 802.15.4-2020 standard. This allows seamless integration and operation among devices from different vendors. The hybrid network automatically and dynamically adjusts its communication channel selection for each link in the network, depending on the prevailing network conditions. This flexibility enhances the reliability, efficiency and resilience of the network.

    7. Importance of Certification

    With the increasing complexity of technology, having a certification program is paramount to ensuring product interoperability and meeting performance requirements. This is where the G3-Alliance plays a vital role. Comprising nearly 100 member stakeholders from the smart grid ecosystem, the G3-Alliance is dedicated to driving the development of G3 technologies, with already over 80 million devices deployed worldwide.

    The G3-Alliance runs a thorough certification program that provides assurance to both manufacturers and end users. This certification ensures that meters, data concentrators, and other devices correctly implemented the G3-Hybrid standard, that they are interoperable with other certified devices, and that they meet the required performance levels. Currently, the program has certified over 500 G3-devices from 19 different manufacturers with certified chipsets and 50 different manufacturers with certified products. This assurance of quality and performance underscores the commitment of the G3-Alliance to delivering reliable and efficient solutions for the smart grid and IoT applications.

    G3-Hybrid Mesh Networks are ready for any of your applications

    A G3-Hybrid mesh network congregates a virtually unlimited number of devices and enables reliable communication among them. It’s a robust, flexible, and scalable solution, serving as a vital backbone of smart grids and IoT applications. With dynamic self-healing capabilities and reliance on open standards, it’s a segway toward an even more connected future.

    We’re thrilled to announce that the G3-Hybrid specification has been updated with several enhancements: Frequency hopping for more flexible and efficient use of a given radio spectrum, last gasp function which allows a device to send out a final message in case of a power outage, enhanced RF/PLC media switching, further optimizing the communication capabilities, incorporation of new RF bands, such as 915 and 920 MHz, broadening the reach and effectiveness of the G3-Hybrid mesh network and supporting battery-powered devices.

    It is now published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), making it freely available to the public via the ITU website

    For more information, contact our members or visit our website.

    Israel Electric Corporation taps Landis+Gyr for nationwide smart meter rollout Wed, 12 Jul 2023 07:30:00 +0000 Landis+Gyr has been contracted to deliver an initial 565,000 smart electricity meters to Israel Electric Corporation.

    The contract also includes delivery of the head-end system and services for the maintenance of the existing meter data management system and related applications.

    It also includes the opportunity to extend the smart meter order up to 4.2 million units and the provision that 40% of the meters are allocated to a third-party meter supplier acting as subcontractor to Landis+Gyr.

    “We are delighted to be accompanying Israel Electric Corporation in this digitalisation journey and would like to thank the company for selecting Landis+Gyr as their strategic partner for this important project,” said Vincenzo Annunziata – Head of Region Greece, Middle East & Export Markets.

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    The smart metering rollout, which will replace the existing meter fleet, is expected to run until 2028 and is envisaged as a cornerstone for the establishment of a smart grid in Israel.

    With the project, Israel Electric expects to achieve a high level of integration and interoperability across its extended AMI systems and to harvest AMI data to extract process efficiencies, improve quality of supply, enhance AMI security, boost customer experience and introduce new services.

    Israel Electric Corporation is a state owned vertically integrated electricity company, responsible for generation, transmission, distribution and supply to all sectors of the economy.

    Under the sector reform currently under way the Corporation is focussing its activity in the T&D segments, with a reduction of its share in the generation segment and an opening of supply to competition due in Q3 of 2024.

    Alongside an upgrading and expansion of the transmission system to enable increased renewable integration, with targets of a 20% share in 2025 and 30% in 2030, the Corporation is also focussing on the delivery of energy storage and the introduction of electric vehicles.

    Israel has targetted an 85% greenhouse gas emission reduction from 2015 levels by 2050.

    Maine rivalling California in progressive thinking about the future of the grid Sat, 08 Jul 2023 07:23:00 +0000 New legislation directs the state to begin a DSO study to enable a true market for distributed energy resources.

    Most energy insiders recognize that the transition to clean energy will require a large percentage of distributed energy resources (DER), particularly distributed solar PV, batteries, electric vehicles, grid-interactive buildings, and more. These DER will need to be dispatched as part of a system that asks them to both push energy to the grid and absorb it in order to keep the grid stable as it seeks to balance generation from large inverter-based resources, i.e. wind and solar power.

    Today in the US there are grid operators and an energy market at the transmission level, but the distribution utilities have always focused on the (extremely complex) task of delivering energy that is reliable, safe, and affordable. In the future, that might need to change and the state of Maine is taking initial steps toward what that DER-heavy future might look like.

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    In late June, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed legislation — LD 952: An Act to Create a 21st-Century Electric Grid — that could modernize Maine’s electric grid.  

    The bill directs the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) to hire a third-party consultant to conduct a two-part study for the design of a distribution system operator (DSO) in Maine. A DSO would function in Maine much like the existing independent system operator of the New England region, ISO New England, whose role is electric grid operation, market administration and power system planning. 

    Part one of the study evaluates whether it is possible to design a DSO in Maine to achieve a reduction in electricity costs for customers, improve electric system reliability and performance in the state and meet Maine’s climate goals and growth of distributed energy resources at an accelerated rate. If possible, and the GEO agrees, the consultant would then proceed to design the DSO. 

    “LD 952 designs the future electricity grid Maine will need to achieve its climate goals, ensuring both cost efficiency and reliability for customers and the state’s economy,” said sponsor of the bill, Gerry Runte. “We are presently transitioning toward a smarter, digitalized grid that seamlessly incorporates local electricity sources. This transition was never anticipated by our current grid design, which has remained largely unchanged over the last 100 years.” 

    The GEO will present an analysis based on the consultant’s DSO design to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2025. Otherwise, if the consultant finds it is not possible to design a DSO meeting the required objectives stated above, the GEO will present part one of the consultant’s study to the Legislature within 60 days of the completion of part one of the study. 

    “If Maine wants to achieve its climate goals and ensure that its distribution grids are as economical and as reliable as they can be, and if Maine wants its electric grid to serve its citizens and attract new business to the state, it needs to adopt a different perspective as to how its electricity delivery system operates, is controlled and regulated,” said Runte. “This is not a far-off vision – the technologies to implement a modern grid are readily available. What’s needed is a solid plan, the will to execute it and the willingness to become a leader in grid modernization.” 

    The new law will go into effect 90 days after final adjournment of the legislative session.

    This article was first published on the Power Grid website.

    Netherlands funds consortium to electrify logistics sector and drive flexibility Fri, 07 Jul 2023 09:18:00 +0000 The Dutch government has announced a funding award for a consortium of 29 companies and knowledge institutions to develop a charging solution for the country’s logistics sector that will flexibly alleviate congestion from the grid.

    The Netherlands-based fast-charging developer Heliox is leading the Charging Energy Hubs Project, which consists of 29 consortium stakeholders, including Shell, Prodrive, DAF, DAMEN, Scholt Energy, Firan, ElaadNL, Dynniq Energy and TNO, among others.

    The project, which has been approved for an unannounced amount of funding from the Dutch government’s National Growth Fund, aims to accelerate the electrification of the logistics sector through collaboration, research and innovation.

    Additionally, it aims to focus on “an efficient use of smart energy systems to maximize grid efficiency through smart energy solutions”, according to a press release.

    The project will look at the development of decentralised energy systems that act as a link between electricity consumers and suppliers.

    Heliox states that “by seamlessly integrating charging infrastructure, renewable energy and other energy sources, energy storage, and local consumers, these charging energy hubs allow flexibility during peak demand or grid balancing issues.

    “This solution alleviates grid congestion while ensuring a solid business case for charging infrastructure investments.”

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    Michael Colijn, CEO of Heliox, commented on the funding support: “We are thrilled to receive the support of the National Growth Fund as we accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility, reinforcing the Netherlands as a powerhouse in the logistics and e-mobility sector. Cooperation among stakeholders in the value chain is crucial, and as Heliox, we are eager to lead the charge in this transformative project.”

    Paul van Nunen, director of Brainport Development, commented on the hurdles in the way of the logistics sector to sustainability: “The transition to battery electric vehicles requires an additional capacity of the Dutch electricity grid, which is already increasingly subject to balancing and capacity problems.”

    Adding to this was Thomas de Boer, president of Shell Commercial Road Transport, who stated how “electrification of the heavy-duty transport sector is crucial to decarbonising the sector. We are proud to participate in the ‘Charging Energy Hubs’ project in the Netherlands, a market that has been a shining star, leading the energy transition charge.

    With zero-emission zones set to transform urban logistics by 2025, the demand for electric transport is expected to exponentially increase, states Heliox. However, the challenge lies in the limited capacity of the electrical grid to withstand the increasing demand for high-powered charging infrastructure.

    The grid situation in the Netherlands has been one of over-congestion and recurring bottlenecks in several cities. This marks the latest flexibility initiative coming out of the country; a week before the announcement from Heliox, the Dutch government also announced the appointment of a flexibility coordinator.

    Smart grid research lab inaugurated in France Fri, 07 Jul 2023 06:26:07 +0000 The PUMA1 lab at the National Institute of Solar Energy (INES) in southeastern France has been restructured as a smart grid research facility.

    The ‘Grid Control Lab’ as it has been named, which is located at INES at Le Bourget-du-Lac close to Grenoble, is designed for research on the management of grids in the context of large scale integration of renewable energies, batteries and hydrogen storage and e-mobility.

    The new lab is aimed to enable the testing of new concepts, such as DC and medium voltage distribution networks, to be tested in a controlled environment before deployment in the real world.

    A key focus is intended on converters, which are becoming increasingly important for routing and flow control in grids with decentralised production and storage.

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    This new platform enables the design, development and testing of converters for megawatt power with a connection to the 20kV grid and can work up to 3kV in DC.

    Real-time piloted simulation systems combined with high-frequency monitoring then allow the creation of models of smart microgrids integrating these converters.

    The whole is connected with the classic elements of networks, i.e. generators and PV and storage systems, on a scale representative of that to be faced in the years to come.

    “The mastery of converters in a smart electrical network is as critical as the control of valves for a hydraulic network,” states the opening announcement of the lab, which is now a facility of the French research organisation CEA.

    ESTP smart grid test bench

    The Grid Control Lab is the second new test facility to have opened in France in recent months.

    In September 2022, the School of Large Projects (ESTP) opened a smart grid test bench in its electricity laboratory at its Cachan campus.

    The facility, which was designed in collaboration with the engineering company VINCI Energies, is on the scale of a block or district and is aimed primarily for training and raising awareness among tomorrow’s engineers.

    Other intents are to support other laboratories and research centres and to provide a tool for manufacturers to select infrastructures and equipment that will promote the energy transition.

    Belgian electrification is reaching a tipping point – Elia Mon, 03 Jul 2023 13:34:18 +0000 According to a new study from Belgian TSO Elia, although policy measures in Belgium have been speeding up the country’s energy transition, electrification has been happening faster than expected and flexibility will need to be more readily tapped to balance supply and demand.

    Elia’s 2024 – 2034 Adequacy and Flexibility Study for Belgium outlines how the expected spread of electrification across society is happening both earlier and at a faster speed than anticipated, namely in the mobility, heating and industrial sectors.

    However, the transmission system operator for Belgium states that the speed of change is not synchronous across the electricity system, which is causing tension both on the supply and demand side.

    According to Elia, as electricity needs rise, a number of structural measures will be needed to complement the country’s Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM), which is a short term measure that EU countries can introduce to remunerate power plants for medium and long-term security of electricity supply.

    Over the coming decade, they state, extensive electrification will change the very nature of the Belgian electricity system.

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    Specifically, the study espouses four key messages:

    1. Electrification is spreading across society both earlier and at a faster speed than predicted.

    The war in Ukraine and rising gas prices have resulted in new targets and action plans linked to ensuring an independent, resilient and climate-neutral energy system.

    This is creating additional capacity needs, which can be addressed by the CRM. Electrification combined with the accelerated expansion of low-carbon electrons will be one of the main levers for decarbonising society over the next 10 to 20 years. The implementation of these two measures is gaining momentum in three key sectors: mobility, heating and industry.

    This is having a direct impact on the country’s supply and adequacy needs. The expected spread of electrification across society will create additional capacity gaps from 2027 onwards, which can be addressed by Belgium’s CRM.

    The rules and principles to this mechanism are governed by national and European regulations, and are rightfully aimed at avoiding over-procurement. Against the background of electrification and Belgium’s increasing electricity demand, the CRM process involves yearly adjustments to auctions and the stepwise contracting of required capacities

    1. Flexible consumption has the potential to flatten consumption peaks and manage RES variability, so directly contributing to security of supply.

    Until now, flexibility has mainly been used as an in-the-moment ancillary service that helps grid operators address imbalances between supply and demand.

    For example, it has been used to manage operational security challenges linked to the variability of RES and large-scale generation unit outages. In the future, the intrinsic flexibility of new electrical appliances will deliver new opportunities for end users, without adversely impacting their comfort levels.

    By primarily consuming and storing electricity when it is abundant and re-injecting it back into the grid when needed, consumers will lower their energy bills whilst delivering benefits for the overall system: consumption peaks will be flattened, meaning flexibility will contribute to adequacy.

    End user flexibility is therefore an important lever for improving the efficiency and affordability of the energy transition.

    1. Electrification reduces primary energy consumption levels whilst maintaining consumer comfort.

    This significant efficiency improvement therefore delivers large benefits in terms of CO2 reduction – an effect that will become even more prominent as the share of renewable energy in the energy mix grows.

    Electrification, combined with the accelerated integration of renewable energy into the system, creates the opportunity to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. This, in turn, leads to significant reductions in direct domestic CO2 emissions.

    In addition to these climate-related benefits, electrification will deliver economic and geopolitical advantages.

    Industry will be given access to affordable electricity, meaning that it can be anchored in Europe, and jobs can be preserved. Moreover, the shift to an energy system with a high amount of renewables will make this system more independent and resilient.

    1. Any delay in unlocking flexibility or realising grid infrastructure will result in additional capacity needs.

    If Belgium’s security of supply is to be achieved in the most (cost-)efficient way possible, investing in accelerated digitalisation is as important as investments in the timely build-out of grid infrastructure.

    Accelerated digitalisation and the timely realisation of grid infrastructure will have a major impact on the volume of new capacities that need to be contracted in future CRM auctions. Further delays in implementing these will place Belgium’s approach to electricity policy in a state of constant crisis management.

    If Belgium fully harnesses industrial and residential flexibility and realises its planned grid investments, capacity needs in 2034 will decrease by 3,000MW compared with a situation where these key moves are delayed.

    Digitalisation covers both the necessary IT infrastructure and end-to-end connectivity between assets and service providers, which are linked to an adapted market design. Successfully implementing these will make the system more resilient in the face of electrification and renewable integration, will have a significant effect on CO2 reduction and will allow system costs to be kept under control.

    Spain’s Redeia announces PDEye: a critical asset monitoring platform Mon, 03 Jul 2023 12:27:28 +0000 Spanish TSO Redeia (formerly Red Eléctrica de España), Elewit and grid monitoring tech developer Ampacimon have launched PDEye, a predictive maintenance platform that identifies critical asset anomalies on the transmission grid at early stages in the hopes of preventing supply issues.

    The partners collaborated to develop a technology capable of identifying anomalies at early stages in critical assets, which take place in the transmission grid and could compromise the quality and continuity of the electricity supply.

    These assets, such as transformers, transmission lines and electricity substations, play a key role in energy supply and any failure in their operation can have a significant impact on the stability and efficiency of the power grid.

    According to Elewit, which is Redeia’s technology platform, early detection of functional anomalies allows preventive action to be taken before issues escalate.

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    Elewit, Red Eléctrica and Ampacimon launched PDEye in 2021 as an innovation project, which was at first developed internally and has since been scaled up and is ready to be launched on the market, becoming a tool in Redeia’s maintenance unit catalogue.

    According to Elewit in a press release announcement, “thanks to its small discharge detection capabilities” the platform can calculate and analyse the health of grid assets, making use of AI for maintenance action planning.

    “This way, PDEye provides an effective way to detect manufacturing or installation issues in multiple components in electrical network assets, as well as insights about gradual deterioration of components over the years, external anomalies, damage and exposure to heat cycles,” they added.

    According to the company, the platform will be a useful solution for cables, transformers, terminations, gas insulated systems, switchgear and other components in need of performance monitoring.

    Switzerland’s BKW Energie to digitalise grid inspections Thu, 29 Jun 2023 13:54:46 +0000 BKW Energie AG, operator of Switzerland’s largest distribution system, has announced a five year programme partnership with eSmart Systems to transition their visual grid inspections to a complete image-based virtual inspection process.

    The inspections programme will focus on the distribution grid with a focus on wood, steel and concrete structures.

    It will utilise eSmart Systems’ Grid Vision solution – utilised as a Software as a Service and powered by AI to support the high voltage distribution grid with inspection and maintenance.

    The partnership aims to optimise costs and provide safer, more accurate and efficient visual inspections.

    BKW will use the solution, which consists of over 40 AI models trained on over 15 million global images, to automate their virtual inspections to improve the quality and speed of inspections.

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    The partnership will enable BKW Energie to transition its inspection processes to condition-based asset maintenance over time with the use of Grid Vision Insight.

    “We are delighted to partner with BKW Energie and our technology will support their vision of running a more sustainable and resilient power grid,” stated Henrik Bache, CEO of eSmart Systems.

    Martin Rieder, head of asset information management at BKW Energie, added:

    “Our ambition is to become a distribution system operator managing a highly efficient power grid, transforming our inspection process is getting us one step closer to our digitalisation journey and enabling us to obtain accurate and reliable asset data that can be utilised for key decision making.”

    Europe’s energy system research priorities roadmapped to 2031 Wed, 28 Jun 2023 06:44:03 +0000 The energy system research and innovation (R&I) roadmap for 2022-2031 has been released by the European Technology Innovation Platform Smart Networks for Energy Transition (ETIP SNET).

    The roadmap, an update of the 2020-2030 edition published in June 2020, is aimed to describe the current ten-year path towards the 2050 carbon neutral energy system with massive use of renewables for large scale electrification, widespread deployment of smart grid technologies and sector coupling of energy carriers via storage.

    The roadmap is based on the concept of ‘high level use cases’ that were previously identified and should be realised by 2031.

    For each several ‘priority project concepts’ are detailed covering key integration features for the future energy system and on which individual projects can be based, extending the list of those previously identified to be well under way before 2025.

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    The nine high level use cases are as follows:

    1. Optimal cross sector integration and grid scale storage – identifies the value and realises the integration of monitoring and control, regulatory frameworks, cross-sector resilience, infrastructure design of integrated storages of all kinds with multi-energy systems (including hydrogen and CO2-neutral gases based) and their assets.
    2. Market-driven TSO-DSO-system user interactions – identifies the market models and architectures, the governance and realises them as business cases so that an integrated, full system control and operation for both TSOs and DSOs results. Also develops corresponding platforms with TSO and DSO planning tools.
    3. Pan European wholesale markets, regional and local markets – identifies and validates the fundamental market designs and regulatory frameworks, develops IT systems for real-time balancing and cross-border trading.
    4. Massive renewable energy systems penetration into the transmission and distribution grid – identifies technical barriers and develops measures for handling massive RES with their control and operation and related infrastructure and their functioning with RES-based markets, policies and governance. Also develops planning tools with the goal of high system resiliency.
    5. One stop shop and digital technologies for market participation of consumers at the centre – identifies the value of consumer/customer engagement and develops easy to use, standardised, communicating and (cyber-) secure-by-design solutions for them.
    6. Secure operation of widespread use of power electronics at all systems levels – identifies, simulates with digital twins and then realises control solutions for PV integrated with batteries and their inverters thereby considering transition path to hybrid AC/DC electricity grids, adapted distribution substations, HVDC multi-terminal configurations and their standardisation.
    7. Enhance system supervision and control including cybersecurity – identifies and realises adapted TSO and DSO control room needs including new monitoring, control, protection and measurement technologies, their interfaces also to the grid operators and their standardisation.
    8. Transportation integration and storage – identifies implications of the transport sector decarbonisation, how electromobility supports resilient energy system operation together with policy adaptations. Also identifies market adaptations for seamless merging of transport and energy sectors including their integrated planning.
    9. Flexibility provision by building, districts and industrial processes – identifies the value of buildings, of smart communities for control and operation of a RES-based energy system, including their integrated planning, market and governance adaptation needs.

    Previously a total of 32 priority project concepts were identified to start in 2022.

    The R&I roadmap for 2022-2031 identifies a further 31 priority project concepts – 18 to start in 2025 and 13 to start in 2026.

    Taking account of these the budget total estimated for the period 2022-2031 is €4.5 billion (US$4.9 billion).

    The largest proportions are for high level use cases 1 and 7 with just under and just over 14% respectively of the total, while the least are for use cases 3 and 8 at between 8 and 9%.

    The roadmap is intended to guide the European Commission and national authorities in advancing the energy system research agenda.

    It will be supplemented later in 2023 with a detailed implementation plan for the priority project concepts for 2025+ and subsequently another for those 2026+.

    The ETIP SNET brings together stakeholders and experts from across Europe’s energy sector, with individuals able to participate in application to any of the individual topical working groups.

    Finland’s Caruna pilots smart grid technologies Tue, 27 Jun 2023 07:52:22 +0000 Finnish energy company Caruna has launched smart grid pilots on the loading of conductors and fault location, isolation and service restoration (FLISR).

    The line loading pilot is focussed on the installation of sensors on several sections of Caruna Espoo’s 110kV HV distribution network in order to determine if the load can be increased from the current level.

    Data from the sensors is combined with weather data to determine the actual load capacity of the wires.

    “This is now a concrete action to make the electricity network in Espoo smarter,” says Project Manager Ossi Juujärvi.

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    “With the energy transition, we aim to develop our networks so that we can support, for example, the electrification of district heat production.”

    Traditionally, the load on a line is defined and fixed for summer and winter conditions, without taking full account of changing weather conditions such as the wind speeds and directions and ambient temperatures, which may be particularly impactful.

    Caruna has forecast that with increased electrification and the transition to carbon neutrality Espoo’s peak output will increase by more than 50% by 2040, which will require significant investments and actions to increase the network capacity.

    The FLISR pilot, which launched in the Spring, is being implemented in 12 substations in 12 different municipalities in Caruna’s distribution area.

    The aim of the smart grid pilot, which runs to the end of 2023, is to investigate if the system can locate and distinguish faults automatically and restore electricity to customers outside the fault, thereby reducing both the lengths and impacts of any outages.

    The substations are in the municipalities of Kristinestad, Taivalkoski, Nagu, Kuusamo, Närpes, Salo, Plough, Tuusula, Vihti, Vehmaa, Lohja and Raseborg.

    Caruna anticipates expanding the project in stages, eventually with the technology across its entire distribution area.

    World Bank finances Europe-Tunisia undersea cables to connect grids Tue, 27 Jun 2023 06:53:00 +0000 The World Bank Group Board of Directors has approved $268.4 million in financing for the Tunisia-Italy interconnector (ELMED) project that will link energy grids between Tunisia and Europe.

    It will also support renewable energy trade “essential to Tunisia’s sustainable development and climate change strategy.”

    The Bank said the ELMED project strengthens its longstanding partnership with the Tunisian government in the energy sector.

    The project will position the country as a regional hub for renewable energy by connecting Tunisia’s power grid to Italy through a 600MW undersea cable.

    “By enabling trade in clean and competitive energy, the project boosts energy security, integrates renewable energy sources, and reduces carbon emissions while making the power sector more financially viable and attracting investments in Tunisia.”

    Project to diversify Tunisia’s energy mix

    Alexandre Arrobbio, the World Bank country manager for Tunisia, said ELMED is the first World Bank project under the recently announced 2023-27 Country Partnership Framework (CPF). 

    “Support for the Tunisian government’s 2035 energy strategy, which aims to rapidly increase renewable energy to 35% of total energy consumption, is one of the Bank’s main priorities within the new CPF’s implementation.”

    The World Bank Group’s financing will cover part of the overall investments for building a main converter station and associated sub-stations on the Tunisian side, as well as support for implementation of the interconnector. 

    Technical assistance by the World Bank Group will include helping to establish a renewable energy centre of excellence to position Tunisia as a training hub for renewable energy projects in North Africa.

    The ELMED project is also supported by the government of Italy, the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the German Development Bank KfW.

    Additional funding includes $25 million of concessional financing from the Green Climate Fund mobilised through the Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative.

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    Tunisia’s energy grid has an over-reliance on imported fuel sources

    In its project appraisal document, the World Bank said Tunisia’s energy sector is characterised by an over-reliance on imported hydrocarbons, high demand growth and waning national resources. 

    “The country’s recovery in the post-revolution transition drove a strong growth in energy demand. 

    “Between 2010 and 2015, the country’s energy demand grew by an average rate of 2.2% per year, with demand for gas quadrupling since 1990. 

    “Electricity consumption also increased at a high pace growing on average by 3.6% annually, with peak demand increasing by 3.9%.” 

    The country’s energy mix is based on natural gas (55%) and petroleum (44 %) with renewables accounting for only 1% of primary energy, the Banks said. 

    “With its high dependence on hydrocarbons, the country is vulnerable to disruptions in the international oil and gas markets and to price volatility and to the continuity of its current energy supply options. 

    “53% of national gas consumption is sourced from Algeria and the government expects a steep decline in its national production of hydrocarbons, from 5.35 Mtep in 2016 to 1.5 Mtep in 2030.”

    The World Bank said the structural trend of increasing reliance on hydrocarbon imports and depleting local resources has considerably eroded Tunisia’s energy independence.

    “While in 2010 the country relied only on 7% of imports to meet its energy demand, in 2014 imports satisfied more than 40% of national energy needs. 

    Originally published by Yunus Kemp on ESI-Africa.

    Sustainability through electrification and end-to-end products life-cycle Mon, 26 Jun 2023 15:07:31 +0000 Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems and Services at Schneider Electric, shares his view on sustainability through Electrification and end-to-end products life-cycle, focusing on SF6 gas reduction.

    Watch the full video interview below.

    This interview was filmed in November 2022 at Enlit Europe in Frankfurt, Germany

    View more content from Schneider Electric here

    Visit the Schneider Electric website

    Ukraine’s DTEK plans Kyiv region smart grid Fri, 23 Jun 2023 06:38:09 +0000 DTEK is planning a €2.4 billion (US$2.6 billion) smart metering and smart grid upgrade in the war-hit region around the capital, Kyiv.

    The aim is to build a smart grid capable of withstanding military assault while at the same time accelerating Ukraine’s energy transition.

    The Kyiv regional power grid – which excludes the capital – has been extensively damaged on two occasions, once in Spring of 2022 when Russian forces were advancing on the capital and again towards the end of the year when the country’s civilian energy infrastructure was being targeted.

    Once the areas were liberated, DTEK was able to send in crews to reconnect homes and businesses. However, despite the restoration of power, which took about 45 days, the network remains in need of extensive repairs and major upgrades to raise it to modern European standards.

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    DTEK’s grid operating business DTEK Grids is seeking €2.4 billion of funding in a 10 year-project to transform the region’s power infrastructure.

    The plans, which still need to be approved by Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy, envisage building a smart grid with 20,000km of new overhead and underground cables, 250 substations, 6,000 transformers and nearly a million smart meters.

    Advantages envisaged include a resilient smart grid infrastructure that will continue to operate even when individual segments are damaged or destroyed, increased usage of power produced from renewable sources, digital twin technology modelling and a flexible system enabling consumers to become prosumers.

    “DTEK does not seek to only rebuild what was destroyed but to build a new power sector for Ukraine that is cleaner, innovative and more resilient,” says DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko.

    “This investment will give the Kyiv region a world-class smart grid infrastructure that enables Ukraine’s energy transition: integrating renewable generation and preparing Ukraine to become a major clean energy hub for the European Union.”

    DTEK Grids is planning to test the new grid concept in a three-year pilot phase across Irpin-Bucha-Borodyanka, an area about 25km from the capital, for which an initial funding of €145 million (US$159 million) is being sought.

    DTEK Grids is Ukraine’s largest electricity distribution business, providing electricity to 5.6 million customers through seven regional DSOs in Kyiv City and the surrounding region.

    US Congressional Grid Innovation Caucus relaunched Fri, 23 Jun 2023 06:35:02 +0000 The Grid Innovation Caucus has been relaunched for the current 118th Congress with a focus on strengthening the nation’s grid and ensuring its security and reliability.

    The bipartisan Caucus, the initiative of Bob Latta, Republican representative for northwest and west central Ohio, and Marilyn Strickland, Democratic representative for western Washington, will run to the end of the current presidential term at the start of January 2025.

    Its relaunch highlights the increasing focus on the grid for driving the energy transition forward.

    According to a press statement, the Caucus will work to improve the security and reliability of the US electric grid by “increasing institutional understanding of grid complexities, identifying opportunities for productive and bipartisan engagement, and highlighting the constructive role technological innovation can play in bolstering grid infrastructure”.

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    Latta said in the statement that ensuring the security and reliability of the electric grid cannot be overstated.

    “From increasing efficiency to meet our growing energy needs to implementing modernised defences that protect against cyberattacks, there is much work to be done to safeguard this critical infrastructure.”

    Strickland said in the statement that strengthening the nation’s energy grid “is necessary for a cleaner and more energy efficient future that supports good paying jobs, strengthens domestic power production, and decreases the frequency of power outages in our communities”.

    “[I] look forward to highlighting the importance of an innovative, reliable and efficient grid.”

    The Grid Innovation Caucus was first launched in 2014 by former representatives Renee Ellmers from North Carolina and Jerry McNerney from California as a forum for discussing solutions to the challenges facing the grid, with industry support from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and GridWise Alliance.

    Latta and McNerney then co-chaired the Grid Innovation Caucus for the 115th Congress, which ran from January 2017 to 2019.

    Both organisations have welcomed the Caucus relaunch and have committed to working with it.

    Debra Phillips, NEMA president and CEO, said: “Bipartisan commitment to a modernised and resilient electrical grid is an essential undertaking.”

    Karen Wayland GridWise Alliance CEO, said: “No sector of our economy is transforming more rapidly than the electric grid, as new and innovative technologies compel changes to the ways we operate and manage the grid to provide reliable, secure, affordable and clean power.”

    Christina Hayes, executive director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG), also commented, saying that strong, bipartisan solutions are needed to improve America’s transmission system.

    “An expanded and modernised transmission system will lower consumer costs, prevent dangerous power outages and create good-paying jobs – all issues that cut across party lines.”

    The Caucus relaunch also has been welcomed by Julia Selker, executive director of the WATT Coalition.

    Highlighting the role of grid enhancing technologies in improving reliability and resilience, she said: “Transmission capacity expansion and grid modernisation are not keeping pace with the needs of American ratepayers and industry, and Congress can accelerate a digital transformation in the sector.”

    Gaps in EV codes tied to cybersecurity and grid interface issues Mon, 19 Jun 2023 11:15:53 +0000 The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published a Roadmap of Standards and Codes for Electric Vehicles at Scale, developed by the Institute’s Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP). 

    The roadmap’s primary focus is on light-duty, on-road plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) that are recharged via a connection to the electrical grid, as well as the supporting charging infrastructure needed to power them. 

    Medium- and heavy-duty EVs are also covered, as is wireless charging. 

    A total of 37 standardization gaps were identified with corresponding recommendations across the topical areas of vehicle systems, charging infrastructure, grid integration and cybersecurity. ANSI said it hoped that the roadmap would see broad adoption by the user community and facilitate a “more coherent and coordinated approach” to the future development of standards for EVs.

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    The grid-related gaps that were identified included:

    • Megawatt charging systems 
    • Static wireless charging
    • Communication of standardized EV sub-metering data
    • Standardization of EV sub-meters
    • Comprehensive review of cybersecurity codes and standards for applicability to the EV charging ecosystem
    • The lack of an end-to-end secure trust chain and encryption system for the EV charging ecosystem
    • Cybersecurity and data privacy
    • Cybersecure firmware updates
    • Cable management
    • Fire protection in relation to EV parking/charging in/near older buildings        
    • Fault current signatures for AC and DC architectures under islanding conditions
    • “Ride through” requirements for EVSE under grid service conditions
    • DC-as-a-Service (DCaaS)
    • Dynamic wireless charging and power export
    • Communications in support of wireless power transfer

    The panel does not develop standards but serves as a forum for facilitating coordination among entities that do develop standards.

    Of the 37 gaps, 14 gaps/recommendations were identified as high priority, 20 as medium priority, and three as low priority. In 23 cases, additional pre-standardization research and development (R&D) was said to needed. The roadmap also provides timeframes for when standards work should occur, and identifies organisations that may be able to develop the standards or perform the R&D. 

    The target audience for the roadmap includes vehicle manufacturers; entities that will be installing and operating charging infrastructure; standards development organisations; US federal, state, and municipal government agencies; electric utilities; and others.

    Originally published on Power-Grid International.

    Peru advances smart metering Wed, 14 Jun 2023 07:43:00 +0000 Peruvian state distribution company Hidrandina has issued a call for almost 32,000 smart meters.

    The smart meters are intended for Hidrandina itself as well as for the other members of the Distriluz group, Electronoroeste, Electronorte and Electrocentro, which together distribute electricity to more than 12 million people in the north and central regions of Peru.

    The contract is expected to be awarded in mid-July and to extend over 2.5 years.

    Smart metering in Peru has lagged some other countries in the Latin American region, notably Costa Rica and Uruguay, but has been gathering momentum as part of a broader digitalisation of the energy sector.

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    In June 2022 Hidrandina announced the intention to pilot 10,650 smart meters in Trujillo, Huanchaco and Virú.

    “A detail of the project is that smart metering is not only the meter – it is the communication, the platform and the management software, these three go hand in hand,” said Hidrandina Commercial Manager, Saúl Ayaypoma.

    “The objective is to improve the management of energy losses, with these meters we will have information in real time.”

    In the first part of the project, which has been completed, smart meters have been installed by Electrocentro in the transformation centres and distribution substations as well as in large customers.

    Electrocentro, which also is pioneering the smart grid in Peru, in May reported completing the rollout of its distribution automation project.

    Approximately 750,000 people are expected to benefit from a reduction in the time of outages due to more rapid detection of failures

    Among other smart metering projects in Peru, Enel Distribución Perú has undertaken two pilots, the first of 8,500 meters and the second of 10,000 meters in its concession zone in the capital Lima and Callao.

    Berg Insight has estimated a total of about 50,000 smart meters in Peru and the market to grow to around 650,000 by 2028. They expect an increase after 2024 when technical standards and a cost-benefit methodology for deployment are anticipated.

    Most recently the regulator Osinerg has approved the implementation of a new time-of-use tariff plan for smart meter users with effect from September 1.

    Three tariff blocks are envisaged, the base from 11pm to 8am, medium from 8am to 6pm and peak from 6pm to 11pm, with potential savings for users estimated between 5% and 19%.

    European Commission to draw up EU-wide heat pumps action plan Fri, 09 Jun 2023 09:58:09 +0000 The European Commission has launched an online public consultation as part of its plans to accelerate the roll-out of heat pumps across the EU.

    By enabling a shift away from heating and cooling powered by fossil fuels, stated the Commission in a press release announcing the consultation, heat pumps are central to the clean-energy transition and to achieving carbon neutrality in the building sector.

    Input from the consultation will feed into the Commission’s work on an action plan on heat pumps intended for publication in the fourth quarter of this year.

    The consultation has been launched in all official EU languages and will run for 12 weeks until 30 August 2023.

    The consultation focuses on four main areas, which are central to the expansion of the sector:

    1. A partnership between the Commission, EU countries and the sector itself
    2. Communication with all interest groups and a skills partnership for rolling out heat pumps
    3. Legislation, notably eco-design and energy labelling
    4. Accessible financing

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    A synopsis report of the contributions to this consultation and a summary of the results of all consultations will be published together with the Communication itself.

    The REPowerEU plan calls for prioritising investments in renewables and energy efficiency to reduce fossil-fuel imports and for doubling the current roll-out rates of heat pumps in buildings. It also calls for a faster roll-out of large heat pumps for district heating and cooling networks.

    The European Commission report on the competitiveness of clean energy technologies indicates that the roll-out of all types of heat pumps needs to accelerate further: from heat pumps for single-family houses, large multi-apartment buildings, tertiary buildings and heat networks, to high-temperature heat pumps for industrial applications.

    The Green Deal Industrial Plan further points to heat pumps as one of the key technologies needed to meet EU climate-neutrality goals in the Net-Zero Industry Act to underpin industrial manufacturing.

    Power Cell to deploy smart grid technology in Bangladesh Fri, 09 Jun 2023 09:36:25 +0000 The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded grant funding to Power Cell, a policy and planning agency under the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, to deploy smart grid technology for the country’s power grid.

    A USTDA study will develop implementation plans for smart grid pilot projects with Dhaka Power Distribution Company and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh.

    Power Cell selected Massachusetts-based Boston Consulting Group to carry out the assistance.

    It will also recommend three smart grid investment priorities to benefit the entirety of Bangladesh’s transmission and distribution grid, as well as develop a training strategy to enable utilities to successfully operate and manage their smart grid technologies.

    These priorities are based on the recommendations of Power Cell’s 10-year smart grid technology roadmap, which USTDA funded in 2022.

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    “USTDA’s assistance will support the creation of a more efficient and dynamic power grid that will facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources and strengthen the delivery of electricity to the people of Bangladesh,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s director.

    “Our partnership with Power Cell will enable Bangladesh to decide the most appropriate path and technologies for its smart grid infrastructure development. US companies are world leaders in this sector and will be eager to partner with Bangladesh on its priorities.”

    “The first phase of this project showed us a path towards implementation of smart grid in Bangladesh power sector and identified the gaps in our system,” added Mohammad Hossain, director general of Power Cell.

    Mohammad Hossain during the virtual grant signing. Image courtesy Power Cell.

    According to Al Jazeerah reportage earlier this week, Bangladesh’s power grid has been facing the possibility of further power cuts due to high demand spurred by a fuel shortage.

    The country has been experiencing erratic weather, such as a cyclone in April, which caused energy cuts and shutdown of power plants.

    Commenting on the grant was Helen LaFave, deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a virtual signing ceremony. “We all understand that renewable resources are the key for energy transition for Bangladesh, for South Asia and for the world…This grant will help Bangladesh prepare for its energy transition and prepare to integrate more intermittent energy resources into its national grid.”